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168th Force Support Flight Redesignation strengthens operational readiness

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey
  • 168th Wing

The Alaska Air National Guard's Eielson Air Force-based 168th Force Support Flight has been renamed the 168th Force Support Squadron. The squadron received official orders to re-designate as a squadron by order of the Governor, and the name change was made formal during a ceremony held at the 168th Wing.

"Making the redesignation from flight to squadron happen has been a years-long effort, and I want to emphasize to my team that I'm standing here on your behalf and because of you as we recognize this success," said Maj. Sara Kerr, 168th Force Support Squadron commander. "We've been doing the work of a squadron for a long time, and now those efforts are validated."

Kerr thanked her Senior and Non-Commissioned officers for creating a positive climate and for the growth of the squadron.

"Working in the support realm has its challenges," said Kerr. "It seems the spotlight only shines on us when we miss something, or someone feels we've made a mistake, but we get through that because we are always training and developing, we truly care about one another, and we believe in what we are doing."

Airmen assigned to the 168th FSS stood proudly in military formation as the historical orders were announced and the unfurling of the new squadron flag took place for all to see. Mission Support Group Commander Col. Edward Borneo took a moment to share the history of the wing's early beginnings of support elements and how they have grown into flights and now squadrons.

"The Force Support unit was not given the manning of a squadron but was given the mission and the responsibilities of a squadron," said Borneo. "For over a decade, the Force Support Flight has done the mission of a squadron without the recognition and manning."

Borneo recognized several members of the Force Support Squadron during the ceremony.

"In the last two years, Sgt. Williams and his team have deployed, stood up a fully operational disaster relief mobile kitchen trailer, and recently returned from Dover Air Force Base teaching the Air Force, Reserve and Guard Member's Mortuary Affairs."

He recognized critical leaders in every area of FSS while highlighting their accomplishments for their mission capabilities here in the arctic and their training and education mission readiness and deployment readiness.

"Sgt. Lutrell, the hiring and many personnel actions come through you," said Borneo. "Your organizational skills and work ethic ensure we keep the wing manned. Simply, you are awesomesauce."

Borneo praised the leadership team as he recognized the Chief's ever-constant leadership in assisting him and standing strong for the unit through the years.

"Chief Hill, your determination, fortitude, and work ethic impress me," said Borneo. "Major Kerr when you assumed command, in June of 2020. I had great hopes for you and the unit; you have only surpassed my greatest hopes."

As a part of the ceremony, the newly designated squadron members awaited the command to don the new patches formalizing the redesignation.  

Since this moment isn't about me, Kerr announced, "I'm going to wrap this up with the most important part of today's ceremony, the changing of our unit patch."

"The entire Wolfpack, thank you for putting your trust in me and letting me serve as your commander," said Kerr.